Chef Seeks Converts to Crudo, Italian Sashimi

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Chef David Pasternack i

David Pasternack, chef at New York City's Esca, is the author of a new cookbook, The Young Man and the Sea. Christopher Hirscheimer hide caption

toggle caption Christopher Hirscheimer
Chef David Pasternack

David Pasternack, chef at New York City's Esca, is the author of a new cookbook, The Young Man and the Sea.

Christopher Hirscheimer

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For most people, Italian and sushi are two words that don't naturally go together. Chef David Pasternack is trying to change that, with a dish called crudo, or Italian sashimi.

The dish consists of raw fish dressed with olive oil, sea salt, acidic juices such as lemon or lime and sometimes vinegar.

Pasternack, the chef at New York City's Esca, has been serving crudo at his restaurant for a while, and the dish has grown in popularity around the United States.

"I always say, 'We're copied by many, imitated by few,'" the chef tells Michele Norris about the crudo at Esca — which means "bait" in Italian.

Now, he hopes to encourage people to prepare crudo at home with a new cookbook, The Young Man and the Sea.

Pasternack remembers when he first discovered the dish — on the Dalmatian coast of Croatia — and offers tips on preparing crudo, including finding the freshest fish and the highest-quality salts and olive oils.

Tips for Sourcing Crudo Ingredients

David Pasternack, chef at New York City's Esca, offers advice on places to find high-quality ingredients for crudo.

Favorite Olive Oils:

Primo D.O.P. Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Whole Foods Stores Nationwide

Olio Verde Olive Oil (Sicilian)

Manicaretti Food Imports

5332 College Ave # 200

Oakland, CA 94618

(510) 655-0911

Favorite Wines to Pair with Crudo:

2003 Bastianich Tocai Plus (Friuli, Italy)

Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi (Marche, Italy)

Favorite Fish Purveyors for Crudo Fish:

Browne Trading Company

(800) 944.7848

Honolulu Fish Company

(888) 475-MAHI

Favorite Sicilian Sea Salt:

Di Palo Fine Foods

200 Grand Street

NY, NY 10013

(212) 226-1033

Albacore Crudo with Caperberries

Albacore Crudo with Caperberries i
Christopher Hirscheimer
Albacore Crudo with Caperberries
Christopher Hirscheimer

Albacore tuna is the same species used in common canned tuna like Bumble Bee and Chicken of the Sea. It's fished in local waters on the East Coast in the summer, so that's when I serve it at the restaurant. It's a fatty fish, and that fat gives albacore a ton of flavor. I like to serve it as crudo with caperberries, which add just the right touch of acidity. Serves 6

3 lemons, halved

1 pound albacore fillet

Fine sea salt

Freshly ground black pepper

High-quality extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling

16 Sicilian caperberries

Put a small puddle of lemon juice — about 1 tablespoon each — in the center of six small serving plates then drizzle the lemon juice around the sides of the plates. The lemon juice is put under the fish so that it will not discolor it.

Slice the albacore thinly. Arrange the slices on the serving plates atop the puddles of lemon juice.

Sprinkle a few crunchy grains of sea salt on each slice of fish. Follow with a light grinding of black pepper on each piece and then a light drizzle of high-quality olive oil over the top. Add 4 caperberries to each plate and serve immediately.

Fluke with Sea Beans and Radishes

Fluke i
Christopher Hirscheimer
Christopher Hirscheimer

Fluke is fished year-round where I live, even though it is also known as summer flounder. Although it's a common, relatively inexpensive fish, fluke actually makes the most surprisingly tender, cleanly flavored, and firm-fleshed crudo. Sea beans are those weird green things you see right off the shore at the beach. They add great crunch and saltiness to the dish. If you can't find sea beans, use additional thinly cut radish slices instead. The radishes add just the right touch of acidity. Serves 4

4 ounces sea beans

4 ounces radishes, cut into matchsticks

Coarse sea salt

Juice of 1/2 lime

One 8-ounce fluke fillet

High-quality extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling

In a small mixing bowl, combine the sea beans, radishes, a pinch of sea salt, and a squeeze of lime juice.

Using a knife with a thin sharp blade, begin cutting the fluke into thin slices on the diagonal. Transfer the slices to four serving plates as they are cut, forming a fan pattern, about four slices per plate.

Place a small mound of the sea bean salad on top of the fanned fluke in the center of each plate. Drizzle each serving with olive oil and a sprinkling of sea salt. Serve immediately.

Web Resources

Books Featured In This Story

Young Man & The Sea

Recipes & Crispy Fish Tales from Esca

by David Pasternack, Ed Levine and Mario Batali

Hardcover, 253 pages |


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Young Man & The Sea
Recipes & Crispy Fish Tales from Esca
David Pasternack, Ed Levine, et al

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